CONSENTING TO LEAD

 With Colin Kaepernick at the ACLU SoCal awards dinner 2017

With Colin Kaepernick at the ACLU SoCal awards dinner 2017

In 2007, I founded a group of four volunteers and helped it grow to two-thousand members, delivering Los Angeles' 33rd congressional district for then-Senator Obama by the largest margin in the California primary.

I run a Facebook group called "Consenting to Lead."  Here's our manifesto:

85% of consumer decisions are made by women and yet we only earn 53-77% on the white man's dollar.

I am helping to pioneer a technology that will amplify civic engagement, progressive political and cause campaigns, and empower consumers and voters to drive moral political and/or corporate leadership.

As women, we have been groped, assaulted, paid less, passed over for raises and promotions, underestimated, undermined, taken for granted, objectified, gaslit, lectured, talked over, hunted, hated, raped, abused, patronized, belittled, criminalized, misrepresented, divided and conquered. At times, we ourselves may have consented to stay second-class citizens because “that’s the way it is,” or because retaliation for speaking out seemed worse than the status quo.

If you're looking for a constructive way to unite through action to be the conscience of our country and our world, this community is for you.

The cavalry is not coming. It's up to us.

We consent to do the work to save decency, morality, integrity, courage, and democracy. We consent to lead.

Let's unite to take back Congress in 2018, the White House in 2020, to change our country in the medium term and our world in the long term.

I am working with my Harvard classmate, Marc Scheff, to build a movement to FLIP THE HOUSE in 2018 and take back the White House in 2020.  It's called "Flip the House" Party and you can learn more about it at flipthehouseparty.com.  Meanwhile, here's a how-to, if you want to throw your own "Flip the House" Party and have a blast taking this country back!

THROW A "FLIP THE HOUSE" PARTY:
A HOW-TO

Presumably, you’ve thrown house parties.  So you’re an expert there.  But if you’re new to throwing a grassroots organizing party, here is a sample template you can use. (This template will also work whether you’re planning a move night, phone bank, canvass, petition, a voter registration drive, a fundraiser, a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) event, and so on.)                                                  

GETTING STARTED:

·      Use social media and email to spread the word that you’re getting a group of your friends together for an inaugural “Flip the House” Party – it’s a house party with a purpose!

·      Invite your local Democratic Club, other people you know who know care about progressive values, or clubs for constituency groups that are fighting for their voices to be heard, like union locals, Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety, Voto Latino, Color for Change, The Sierra Club or Greenpeace, public school advocates, and so on. 

·      You can host it in a house, a backward, a park, a bar, a restaurant, a church basement, a union hall, whatever makes sense.

·      Make it potluck and BYOB for you and your fellow organizers.  Let the new guests just bring themselves.  Breaking bread helps break the ice. 

·      Invite your candidate and/or a couple of local state house or state senate or assembly district, city council, school board or primary delegate candidates to Skype in to the party.

AT THE PARTY:

·      Someone sits by the door to man the sign in sheet and make sure every single person signs up.

·      Organizer introduces herself/himself and states the point of the party.  Use SELF, US, NOW to introduce yourself in 3 minutes or less:

·      SELF:  I am _______ from _______. I work as a ______ and my family is _______, etc.

·      US: I am here because I believe in _______ or because my family went through ________, etc. 

·      NOW: I want things to be better in this country in these ways _________ and I know we can only do it together by mobilizing, organizing and acting.

·      Feel free to livestream your party and/or video record it and upload your video to flipthehouseparty.com

·      If a candidate or two (preferably not more) are Skyping in, have them address the crowd in 5 mins or less, with the focus being:

o   Top-down leadership has failed us.  The only way to transform this country is from the bottom up.  Everyone here is on the frontlines of creating that change.  Thank you so much for taking up that call.  The cavalry is not coming.  It’s you.  It’s us.  With you, everything is possible.

o   Tonight, we’re having fun, getting to know each other, catching the vibe.  Look to your left and right.  These are the people with whom you’ll roll up your sleeves and take America back, #GiveAmericaARaise, and exemplify the kind of moral leadership most of our leaders are not displaying enough of.

o   The most important way to do that is to FLIP THE HOUSE:

§  The House is where Articles of Impeachment are drafted.

§  The House influences the Senate.

§  The House writes the Census language that will decide districting in future elections.

·      The Census language can be used to discriminate or to empower. Right now, for example, the language is leaving out LGBTQ families from the questions.  You can change that.

Activism is a fun bonding experience.  Working together toward positive common goals feels great.

·      Once you’ve started your group of organizers, even if you’re just a group of one or two, use your zip code to register the with Swing Left at https://swingleft.org/, to plug into a national network of likeminded activists, so we can work in lock step to resist the Trump regime and FLIP THE HOUSE!

SET MANAGEABLE GOALS:

· Desired Outcome of First “Flip the House” Party:

o  Everyone has fun and gets to know each other!

o Everyone donates something to the campaign, even if it’s just $1 (of course, more is welcome)

o Everyone signs up their name on a chart-like sign-up sheet:

      • email address, zip code
      • 1-3 skills they could contribute to the campaign
      • check a box for next event at which they’ll volunteer:
        • local candidate GOTV or caucus
        • voter registration
        • mailing campaign
        • phone bank or canvass

I learned a number of these tools at Camp Obama in 2007 from Harvard Kennedy School of Government professor, Marshall Ganz, who organized the United Farm Workers’ movement alongside César Chavez.  Some things, I learned via trial and error with Obamawood, the volunteer group I helped found that helped with the 2008 California Primary for Obama by the largest margin in the state.